So it continues. That nasty, horrible, sadistic merry-go-round has swung round once again where it has swiftly singled out our club for yet more public humiliation. That’s how it feels right now.
If it’s not starting four successive seasons without a win for two months; or having your energy-sucking manager proclaiming to the high heavens that a relegation battle is obvious after only two games; or having the best gaffer here since Peter Reid arrogantly poached from us by the FA to leave us in turmoil on the eve of another campaign; if all of that isn’t traumatic enough for supporters to go through, then we go and get kicked in the proverbials yet again for the umpteenth time.
Yes, the news has broken that Derek McInnes will not be taking up the reins at Sunderland AFC.
After talks with the club, and days of intense speculation, McInnes has decided that the job is not for him after all. Martin Bain would have you believe that it was a mutual decision, but we all know the politics behind it. If this is Bain’s idea of transparency, then we won’t be fooled by it.
It is possible and now highly probable that the financial situation at Sunderland AFC is a lot worse than any of us had previously thought. On the same day we sell our best young prospect in decades for a club record fee of £30 million the leading candidate for the vacant managerial position has told us quite simply that he’s not interested. There may be many reasons why that is - and we can only speculate - but obviously the real reason is simple and that’s money.
Paying off the debt is all well and good of course, but there must also be provisions put in place to allow us to be competitive in The Championship come August 5th. To be successful involves proactive planning when trying to appoint a manager to run the football club - something that once again looks to have been beyond the realms of possibility at SAFC.
I don’t have to tell you that this squad needs a massive overhaul, and with Jordan Pickford leaving for Merseyside I’ll admit I allowed myself to think that McInnes would get some of that cash to invest back into player recruitment. How stupid I was. Fast forward a few hours and all of a sudden the picture has completely changed. Pickford’s gone, of course, but something in those talks with SAFC has put McInnes off.
He’s publicly said already that he has a job to do at Aberdeen and alluded to the fact that it is a more interesting and exciting project that the one that is on offer at The Stadium of Light. Consider that for one moment. That is a hugely sad indictment of where we find ourselves at this moment in time.
The problems thrown up during those talks have to be financial and budget related. What else could it be?! It has left me with a massive, underwhelming feeling once again, and I’m at an absolute loss as to where we go from here. It looked as if things were finally going somewhere, but as we know we wouldn't be SAFC if our house of cards didn't come quickly tumbling down. As an outsider looking in, it would appear the club undoubtedly made McInnes their man, and finally decided to put all their eggs in one basket to go out and get him. It’s impressive how spectacularly that has backfired.
With pre-season training kicking off in only two weeks time we possess no manager, little in the way of financial resources, and a poor, threadbare squad made up mostly of young players and others that are pining for moves elsewhere. Add to that a growing discontent among supporters, and it really is getting a little worrying.
With Simon Wilson and Paul Bracewell leaving the club this week, that first day back at the Academy of Light really will be a sorry sight to see unless the club acts appropriately to appoint a new manager. Who that will be remains to be seen. Only a matter of days ago I appealed for calm, but now it feels like the touch-paper has been lit once again.
That is how it always seems to be for Sunderland. It could be Simon Grayson. It could be Nigel Pearson. Or Paul Lambert. Or Kevin Phillips. We thought it was going to be Derek McInnes, but the reality is that nobody has any idea. Those that do (or should), are the ones behind the scenes: messrs Short, Bain and Smith; however, given the erratic nature of managerial appointments under Short in recent years at SAFC it's almost as if the three may resort to a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ approach to Sunderland’s next manager. Picture the scene as a blindfolded Walter Smith meanders across the boardroom and plants a pin onto the forehead of Billy Davies - a harrowing prospect.
Seriously though, the complete lack of competence in any of the people Ellis Short has hired in his time here has been nothing less than appalling. De Fanti and Angeloni, Moyes, Margaret Byrne, Lee Congerton but to name a few, and now this. Bain really needs to earn his corn and pull a rabbit out of the hat with this next one. It’s probably too early to call it a crisis, but hell even the ‘R’ word has been whispered. Though as the days rumble on with an erratic looking Plan A and non-existent Plan B, our fans will become increasingly restless. Mr Bain, it’s over to you.